With the burgeoning app market, creating a mobile application might be the next big step in expanding your business and gaining the most effective app marketing channel, but you are not an app maker and have no experience in app programming software and design – how do you go about making an application? Your options are – you could hire an in-house developer, or an external company, to build your app but perhaps you are a start-up and can’t face the costs of full-blown app development. This is where app builders, or otherwise called app makers, come in.
Applying the philosophy championed by blogging platforms such as WordPress years ago, app makers allow non-coders to design their application with visual interfaces, like in ShoutEm’s case, dragging and dropping pre-coded elements and selecting themes, color schemes and designs. Meanwhile, the app making software “codes” the resulting application in the background, ready for review and publication. Some even go as far as trawling a pre-existing website to import content directly on to the mobile application once your app is made.
One of the first commercially available app builders on the market was Shoutem, which was launched back in 2010, two years after Apple launched its App Store. That was the time when, compared with today’s mobile app standard, iOS apps functionality was really limited and app makers were deemed as the best alternative for businesses who didn’t have a budget to hire an app development company.
A word of caution however: in December 2017, Apple banned apps made from templates from the App Store, only to swiftly backtrack two weeks later when it realised the havoc the decision was wreaking on smaller businesses which don’t have the budget for a fully customised app. Apple’s rules currently read:
4.2.6 Apps created from a commercialized template or app generation service will be rejected unless they are submitted directly by the provider of the app’s content. These services should not submit apps on behalf of their clients and should offer tools that let their clients create customized, innovative apps that provide unique customer experiences.
This means you, the app owner, will have to create a publisher account and publish the app yourself, as well as paying the publishing fees ($99/year to open the account, though these were included in some of the app builders below anyway). Many app builders will guide you through this process, while some are still adapting: either way, what it does mean is that you are responsible for the content on the app, which will have your name listed as a publisher.
Besides that little change in rules (which Android has not replicated) advantages to templated apps are obvious: someone with no coding experience can use the app maker to design and launch a functioning application in very little time, keeping full control of the creative process, without paying for an entire development cycle. There are costs, of course: publishing paid-for applications in Apple’s App Store has a yearly cost of $99, while Google Play has a one-time fee of $25 which cannot be avoided. Paid plans provided by such app builders as Buildfire range from $159/month for basic Growth plan to $424/month for the Enterprise plan, when it comes to managed services the price range goes way up – from $999/month to $7,500/month and these prices are in the same ballpark as paying to a hired app development company.
Making an app with pre-coded elements means the majority of them are coded in HTML5, the mobile-friendly language; this means your app is instantly accessible from any mobile web browser, but it does mean if you want apps native to iOS and Android, hiring a company to make your app from scratch might be the best way to go. Indeed, few companies (such GoodBarber) offer native apps “out of the box”.
Some of the app maker software is also available if you wish to create and sell applications as a business: SellMyApp and Appypie all offer a price plan to become resellers using their software platforms.
However, for a small-to-medium sized company looking to enter the mobile market, these concerns might be secondary, and there are a number of app builders out there who will make the perfect mobile application for their needs.
Today the most sophisticated app builders offer a number of features on top of the basic app building ones, such as reporting, testing, debugging, consulting, educational programs and more.
Here is the list of the best app builders you can use to create a mobile app for your brand.
List of app builders and app makers
Sellmyapp.com is one of the first marketplaces for buying and selling mobile source code. The marketplace strives to enrich and push the mobile developer community to innovate by offering a wide variety of options to make new income streams as a mobile developer.
- Sellmyapp produces a Win Win situation by allowing newcomers to the industry as well as medium range developers to purchase quality tested source codes by high quality responsive authors.
- This allows a simple and quick buying process that allows the buyers to focus on their launch tasks.
- The marketplace also has a team of experienced mobile developers to perform any code customization that is needed to reach the best result possible. The team has experience of more than 5 years in serving customers in the niche and generates only the best quality of graphics and usability.
- Any project size is possible to fulfill and hundreds of projects were already successfully executed to satisfied customers.
Learn more about SellMyApp
Appy Pie is a mobile app-development software platform with the aim of minimizing the amount of coding you have to do yourself. The software is entirely cloud based and requires no installation. The Appy Pie team is on a mission to democratize mobile app development process and let small companies access quality app development building tools cheaper than hiring an outside app development team would require.
Its basic service is free, but will only produce games and apps compatible with HTML 5. The paid versions of the program will add iOS and Android support, remove Appy Pie branding from your application and include other features such as push notifications, real-time updates, and analytics, depending on the price plan.
- Drag-and-drop interface means no coding skills required.
- Four different price plans to only pay for the support you want.
- Paid version always provides customer support and one-time free submission.
- The entire app building process takes only 3 steps.
AppsGeyser is a web platform that allows converting any web content into an Android App in 2 easy steps. It is a Android-only codeless application development platform that lets users create template-based mobile apps based on content pulled from webpages. The AppsGeyser tool is easy to use and bundles social sharing, tabs, messaging and full support for HTML5 enhancements.
On top of the free plan, it offers 3 paid plans – Master ($10 / month to remove ads and get a number of extra features, including premium support), Business ($10 / month for the same features as the Master plan minus support) and Individual plan ($5 / month for the Master plan set of features).
- The platform can pull content from webpages, YouTube channels, RSS feeds and other sources
- Create an app in 3 simple steps and you’ll be ready to monetize it in no time
- Choose your own themes and templates from a wide selection
- On average 7,000+ apps being created with AppsGeyser daily
- To date 6,000000+ apps were created with the platform in total
GameSalad is a free, drag and drop game creation engine for the development of iPhone, iPad, Android, Tizen & HTML5 games. Using GameSalad developers can test games on Apple devices (no coding required) and publish games to the App Store. The engine is also powered by a complex behavior library to enable creative freedom for game designers. Plus to business objectives, GameSalad team has a noble goal to enable anyone to engage with STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) and learn Computer Science through video game creation.
One of GameSalad’s main features is it’s testing tool, the In-App Previewer, which can be used to test game logic and behavior sets. Its web publishing system allows for quick and easy cross-platform publishing to supported targets including iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle, Nook, Windows 8 and Mac desktop. Developers can also instantly publish games to the HTML5 powered GameSalad Arcade
- Create, test and publish iPhone, iPad, Android, Tizen and HTML5 games
- In-App Previewer to test game logic and behavior sets
- Cross-platform publishing available for ebook readers, Windows 8 and Mac desktop
Native apps Progressive Web App Builder for eCommerce and Content Management.
GoodBarber is an app builder created in 2011, delivering a tool which allows to create robust and powerful apps, with the best design and user experience out there. With GoodBarber, you can make native iOS apps, native Android apps, and Progressive Web Apps, which are the latest, most advanced mobile technology. The platform can be used by a wide range of projects and organizations—from local businesses, to radio stations, to magazines, to non-profits, and more. Digital agencies are also a main user of the platform, taking advantage of the solid, reliable technology and flexible customization options to make and sell apps to clients via the white-label reseller program.
With 30,000 apps published with the platform, GoodBarber is a tool you can trust with your business’s digital identity. Not only will end-users enjoy the top-notch design options and a wide range of features that can be added to the app, but the app creator will be pleasantly surprised with how easy it is to use the back office to create and maintain an engaging application. Given the indispensability of a mobile presence, no business should have to decide between breaking the bank or having a low-quality app—that’s why GoodBarber’s mission is to give everyone access to the opportunity to create an exceptional product worthy of representing them.
- Allows to build a shopping app with offline payment system, local delivery by zip code, in-store pickup, time slots, store locator, push notifications, discounts, one-click checkout, permanent cart, quick share and more.
- 30,000+ apps are built with the platform
Fliplet is an enterprise-focused app making solution designed to make mobile applications for your business without any knowledge of coding or programming. Once your app is designed with a simple click-and-edit browser interface and using a number of ready-made templates, it can be shared internally in your company or via the Fliplet Viewer application.
Fliplet’s pre-coded features are built around the needs of a company, and include sales and marketing features such as client proposals and project overviews, as well as suites of features for event organizing, project management, promotion and others. Apps can also link to external PDFs or websites and can always be customised to make navigation and use as easy as possible.
- Free plan to build an app for a small number of users
- Team plan (from 65 euro per month and up)
- Enterprise plan (from 1,300 euro per month and up)
- Manage privacy and access settings, deciding which employees can access which app
- Audio and video streaming supported, as well as visualization of charts and graphs
- Return to Office app built in collaboration with 25 customers that businesses to return to the office after COVID-19 lockdown.
Alpha Software is a low-code app development environment designed specifically with enterprise solutions in mind, and with the capability of producing applications which work across a number of platforms, both on and offline. The platform covers all stages of development: front-end and back-end integration, prototyping and deployment.
Alpha Software has both a drag-and-drop interface and a coding panel should you wish to use it for designing UX and UI of your app. The list of features it can support includes geolocation, charting and reporting, data streaming and task scheduling, and also features its own database engine (though it can be fully integrated with SQL, REST APIs and web services)
- Specifically designed for enteprise-level mobility solutions
- Three different price plans, both including unlimited email support
- Free trial of offline capabilities available
- Simple licensing
- Full deployment capabilities
- Advanced offline features
- Integration with any system via sophisticated API
- Mobile forms software solution for field teams to collect data via mobile
BuildFire is an easy-to-use way of creating mobile applications used by over 30,000 businesses thanks to its code-less approach to making an app. With its “click-and-edit” platform, a mobile app can be created in little time but still be feature-rich by including social network integration, loyalty programs, mobile shopping and e-commerce features. Its basic program, which will give you a HTML5 application, is free for up to 200 web app installs.
BuildFire also offers its trademarked SMART Push and Selective Push notification systems, with a 90% read-rate through your application insuring that your campaigns or contents are noticed by your users. It also syncs your application across platforms with content from your website, creates subscription channels and supports live content such as video and audio streaming.
- High profile customers include Huffington Post, CNN and Business News
- 3-tier price plan gives access to native apps with unlimited downloads
- Allows for back-end coding as well as click-and-edit interface
App Center is an app development platform for Android, iOS and Windowsphone which allows you to develop and distribute beta versions, monitor crashes, recruit testers and analyze app performance before launch. Launched in 2011, it was bought by Microsoft in December 2014, proving the sophistication and power of the platform.
The App Center pricing plans comes in five different tiers, with the lowest one starting at $10 per month and allowing you to publish up to 15 apps (and gives use of the software to three different owners). The highest pricing plan allows for 500 apps and 100 users, and for anything more a bespoke model can be negotiated.
- Also compatible with Unity and Xamarin
- 1 month free trial available
- Pay-as-you go service means you’re never tied in to a contract
Learn more about App Center